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Police Probe Deeper into Taiwanese Drug Network in Thailand After Former Pop Star Arrested

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BANGKOK – Pol Maj Suriya Singhakamol, deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) in Thailand said on Wednesday that Taiwan has now become a major market for “ICE” Crystal Methamphetamine.

The drug is also being shipped to the Philippines, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Crystal methamphetamine smuggled from neighboring countries in the “Golden Triangle” is sold for 300,000-400,000 baht per kilogram on Thai soil — but fetches Bt1 million to Bt2 million per kg after it lands in Taiwan, said the ONCB deputy secretary-general told the Bangkok Post.

Thailand’s ONCB has been closely investigating Taiwanese drug trafficking networks for almost a year and found drug traffickers have been entering Thailand under the guise of businessmen.

Pol Maj Suriya’s said the investigation came after the arrest of Taiwanese man Hung Cheng Yi, 28, with 5.17kg of ketamine hidden in 39 boxed ash trays at Gold Airport Hotel in Bangkok’s Lat Krabang district near Suvarnabhumi airport. During the interrogation, the suspect named former pop singer Priscilla “Pookie’’ Gemelli and her husband as drug suppliers.

Prissana Praisaeng, left, and her husband her husband Cholawit Keetatrakul, arrested at a rented house on Monday night.

Pookie, 40, a former Pop singer, was arrested with her husband Cholawit Keetatrakul, 49, at a their house in Bangkok on Monday night. Police found 98.3 grams of crystal meth, eight speed pills, 10 ecstasy pills, four grams of ketamine and 40 grams of marijuana, along with chemicals and equipment believed to be used to produce narcotics.

Pol Maj Suriya said Pookie and her husband were relatively small-time dealers and that pair got involved in drug trafficking with the Taiwanese suspect after ONCB officials’ recent seizure of 1.5 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine in Pathum Thani province, which led to a shortage of drugs in the market.

Members of the Taiwanese drug trafficking networks then sought out smaller agents for crystal meth and other substances, which led to Pookie’s arrest.

Pol Maj Suriya said that there are several drug networks and narcotics officers have obtained clues that Taiwanese drug networks are using Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam as transit routes. The ONCB has worked closely and exchanged information with its counterparts in these countries.

Taiwanese drug bosses had moved into the drug-production businesses in the Golden Triangle with new formula of methamphetamine created by their chemists after Thailand strictly banned the shipment of 20 precursor chemicals across borders.

The Golden Triangle straddling Thailand, Laos and Myanmar’s borders is notorious as the main production base of illegal drugs that are sold in Thailand. These nations have joined forces to set up the “Safe Mekong Coordination Centre” to jointly fight illegal drug smuggling along the Mekong River and the Golden Triangle.